All posts by Janet Roe

Celebrating with the community.

The final concert in the 2017 Aldbourne Band’s Pond Concert season had to be held in the Parish church due to the poor weather. It followed a church service to celebrate Aldbourne’s community life and to mark the end of Carnival week. As the band is an integral part of the village they accompanied the service, having also taken part in the previous day’s carnival, as they have traditionally done over many years.

The concert started with a drum roll at which the audience was upstanding expecting the band to play the National Anthem. Instead the band launched into a lively version of the Muppets theme which caused great hilarity.

A widely varied programme followed which included Brahms’ “Academic Festival Overture”, the cornet solo “Pandora” played by repiano player Shaun Mundy, a baritone solo “Springtime” from Andy Tilley and an arrangement by MD David Johnson of Andrew Lloyd Webber themes. The concert ended with an outstanding rendition of Paul Lovatt Cooper’s “Fire in the Blood”.

The evening included a presentation to the band’s librarian, Alan Watson, who is stepping down from that particular role after 13 years’ service but still continuing to do much for the band, particularly in his role as Youth Band Administrator. David Johnson reminded the audience of how necessary and valued a librarian is to a successful band and thanked Alan for his tremendous contribution over the years.

The band’s next performance will be on Sunday October 22nd at 6pm in St. Michael’s Church again, when they will be presenting an end of course concert. From the Friday evening throughout the weekend 10 conductors, with a range of band experience, will have been working with the band under the expert guidance and tuition of MD David Johnson on what will be the band’s fourth Conducting Course.

This will be a wonderful evening with each conductor having the opportunity to take the band through a piece they have been working on. The music will be varied and the evening will have a celebratory feel as it will be the culmination of a good few hours hard work over the W/E from the candidates and also David and the band.

A quintessentially English afternoon!

With thatched cottages, a pub and the village church surrounding it, the village green provided a perfect setting for a quintessentially English afternoon when a large audience enjoyed this year’s traditional Proms on the Green concert. With a programme that showcased 3 of the band’s soloists and the complete cornet section, MD David Johnson delighted the audience with music ranging from Verdi’s Force of Destiny, a Mozart Horn Concerto, Benedictus from Karl Jenkins’ War Requiem, to music from the Western Silverado, Putting on the Ritz and a Glen Miller selection.

A wonderful addition to this year’s prom was the superb young soprano Tilly Wale who gave a masterful performance of “I dreamed a dream” from Les Miserables accompanied by the band, and later in the concert led the crowds in the traditional singing of Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory.

The hardworking Friends of Aldbourne Band had again organised a raffle and also provided mouth-watering cakes and cups of tea for the crowds to enjoy, raising funds for the financially self-supporting band who are in the world’s top 50 brass bands. New Friends are always welcome and the membership secretary can be contacted on 01672 540419.

The band’s final pond concert of the season will be at 6.45pm on Sunday September 3rd in the village square. It follows another traditional village event that the band is very much part of, the closing service to mark the end of carnival week. Bring a chair, buy yourself a drink from the nearby pub and settle down to enjoy the evening’s concert.

Conducting Course October 20th – 22nd

Aldbourne Band is once more calling on conductors to join them at their annual conducting weekend on 20th-22nd October 2017 with their MD, David Johnson BMus (Hons) LLCM LRSM.

Open to conductors of all abilities, from those just starting out to already accomplished conductors, David will lead sessions on training a band, finding and solving problems within rehearsals, and preparing bands for concerts and competitions.  Delegates will also have the opportunity to work on challenging Championship section pieces with the band.

An Aldbourne Band spokesperson said:  “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the last three courses, and it has been fantastic to see how much each of the delegates improved over the weekend and under David’s tuition.  A number of the conductors from previous courses have returned each year; a true testament to David’s expert tuition.”

One-to-one evaluation with David will help delegates iron out technical problems and prepare them for the return to their band.  The weekend will culminate with a concert performance where the conductors can show of their newly honed skills.

The course costs just £200 for the weekend, including copies of scores, refreshments and lunch.  For more information about the course, including an application form, please contact the band administrator Jane Lewis on

Rain didn’t stop play!

The band’s June Pond concert was held in a packed St Michael’s Church because of inclement weather, and MD David Johnson, presented a programme of music by the late composer and arranger Gordon Langford. Ranging from traditional songs to complex original works there were also solos from principal horn Simon Jones, and principal euphonium Ed Latham. There were many melodies the audience recognised during the evening which showcased Langford’s ability to take a simple tune and give it a wide variety of guises, and also interweave some very famous symphonic themes together as in the thrilling final piece of the concert the Russian Fantasy.

The Aldbourne Youth and Junior Bands also performed with the trombone section of the Youth Band joined by the senior band trombonists to play a wonderful feature item “Blue Moon”. The June concert is traditionally when awards are given to the young musicians and David Johnson presented plaques for the Junior Band’s most promising player, the Youth Band commitment award and the Kerton Cup to the Youth Band player who has made the most progress over the year.

During the evening the Friends of Aldbourne Band received a cheque for £2,511. It was handed over by Co-op store manager, George Lovelock, as part of the Co-op’s Local Community Fund which had nominated the Friends as their charity. It was accumulated by members spending on Co-op products during the 6 months from October to March 2017.

Gavin Dixon accepting the cheque from Co-Op representatives

Gavin Dixon, secretary of the Friends, was delighted to receive the cheque which will go towards the purchase of a new instrument for Ed Latham, the band’s principal euphonium player. “We are really grateful to the Co-op for their generosity. The band is totally self-funding and any help towards purchasing instruments means we can then pass on the old ones to members of the Youth Band.”

The next Aldbourne Pond Concert, which is free to attend, will take place on Sunday 2nd July starting at 6pm and hopefully outside in the summer sunshine!

New start times for Pond Concerts

After many years of the traditional Pond Concerts held in the village square the Aldbourne Band has decided to start the June and July concerts at the more family friendly time of 6pm. The August Proms on the Green will start at 4pm and the September concert will be preceded, at 6pm, by a service celebrating the end of carnival week.

Following the death in April of composer and arranger Gordon Langford, the band has decided to perform some of his music at the June concert, many of these pieces being lovely arrangements of traditional songs. Although best known for his melodic, cleverly structured brass band works, Gordon Langford was also a highly respected composer of light orchestral music, an accomplished film score orchestrator and theatre composer. His music was heard to accompany the famous BBC television ‘Test Card’ transmissions, whilst he gained further fame as the arranger of many of the greatest hits of the King Singers.

The Aldbourne Youth and Junior Bands will also be making an appearance at the June Pond Concert and this is traditionally the time when awards are made for the bands most promising players.

So bring along your chairs, get yourself a drink from the pub nearby and settle down in the summer sunshine to enjoy a quintessential English evening band concert.